Robinson ready to prove surfing's top dog

·2-min read

Jack Robinson says winning the surfing world title in California will be proof he's far more than just a big wave warrior.

At world No.2 heading into the World Surf League Finals, which are set to get underway in southern California this week, Robinson is the top-ranked Australian in the five-man field, one place ahead of Queenslander Ethan Ewing.

Australia hasn't had a men's world champion in nine years, since three-time champion Mick Fanning's last held the honour.

Brazilians have won five of the last seven titles, with Hawaiian John John Florence breaking their dominance in 2016-17.

Seven-time title winner Stephanie Gilmore, ranked five, is the sole Australian in the women's Finals.

Robinson made a name for himself as a pre-teen surfing Hawaii's famous Pipeline and at the time was dubbed the next Kelly Slater.

Winning at his home break Margaret River and also at G-Land in Indonesia, the 24-year-old is considered a power surfer who flourishes in heavy swell.

Lower Trestles, which hosts the Finals for the second straight year, is described as an "all-round fun" classic reef break - hardly the heart-stopping barrels of Teahupo'o which was the tour's last stop.

But Robinson said he wanted to be considered more than just a big wave surfer.

"People always talk about that and I think it's because I grew up in those kinds of waves and when people first saw me I was always surfing those kind of waves. It kind of captivates everyone," Robinson told AAP.

"I might have not been as good as a kid (in smaller waves) but then you work on it so much because you can't stay on tour otherwise.

"You've got to be good at everything and I'm feeling good, I'm always working on something."

Under the one-day finals format, the fifth-ranked surfer, Japan's Kanoa Igarashi takes on No.4 Brazilian Italo Ferreira, with the winner advancing to meet Ewing.

The victor of that faces Robinson with top-ranked Brazilian Filipe Toledo awaiting that winner for a best of three-heat title decider.

Robinson said he'd been spending up to eight hours a day in the water at Lowers to prepare for the workload.

Olympic silver medallist Igarashi snuck into the top five with a wave at the end of his round of 16 heat in Tahiti.

Like Robinson, Igarashi was considered a child prodigy with the pair travelling the world together, home-schooled by their parents to maximise their wave time.

"I've known him since I was nine and we pretty much came up together," Robinson said of Igarashi.

"We travelled together for a few years together around 10 or 11 as we had the same sponsor so it's pretty crazy to see we're both now in the top five and going for the title."